Picks and Pans Review: Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is, arguably, the finest opera ever written. Indeed, some of its more intense devotees regard it as the supreme artistic achievement of all time. It is not necessary to join such intellectual battle to enjoy and appreciate this superb new recording of Mozart's masterpiece. The album is actually the sound track of Joseph Losey's new movie version of the opera, a fascinating, if not entirely successful, attempt to transfer the buffoonery and tragedy of Don to film. There can be no complaints about Lorin Maazel's brisk direction of the Paris Opera Orchestra and an international cast of singers. Particularly memorable are the Italian bass-baritone Ruggero Raimondi as the satyr of the title, the Belgian bass-baritone José Van Dam as his servant Leporello, the New Zealand Maori lyric soprano Kiri Te Kanawa as the distraught Donna Elvira and the Spanish-born mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza as flirtatious Zerlina. Most opera lovers will have a Don Giovanni in their collection—presumably well scratched from the sheer joy of hearing it again and again. (The aria "Batti, batti" would make even the Commendatore smile.) Here is the excuse to replace your old album and settle back for two hours and 47 minutes of rare pleasure.
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